USMNT

USMNT star Christian Pulisic scores again for Chelsea but injures hip

USMNT star Christian Pulisic scores again for Chelsea but injures hip

Christian Pulisic headed into the international break in impeccable form, but how much he'll play during that time remains in question.

The Chelsea attacker scored in his third straight English Premier League match Saturday, clinching the Blues' 2-0 win over London rivals Crystal Palace with his 79th-minute goal.

But Chelsea manager Frank Lampard substituted Pulisic one minute later, revealing after the match that the United States Men's National Team star injured his hip on his goal.

The USMNT plays its final two games of 2019 during next week's international break, concluding the group stage of the CONCACAF Nations League. The Americans sit second in their group, and face an uphill climb to advance to the semifinals of the tournament -- with or without their best player.

Chelsea won't mind if Pulisic rests next week, considering how well he has played since the start of October. Pulisic did not start a Premier League match in September, only starting a League Cup tie against fourth-division Grimsby Town. Lampard handed Pulisic his first league start in two months on Oct. 26, and the American responded with his first career hat trick.

Pulisic has started every match in all competitions for Chelsea since then, scoring five goals and assisting once. He became the fourth American player in league history to score in three consecutive matches.

The 21-year-old arguably is in the best form of his career, and the USMNT will miss him if he's not fit next week. 

Watch USMNT's Christian Pulisic score hat trick, first Chelsea goals

Watch USMNT's Christian Pulisic score hat trick, first Chelsea goals

Chelsea attacker Christian Pulisic made good on his first English Premier League start in two months in a big way Saturday.

The United States Men's National Team star scored his first hat trick for the Blues -- and his first in the Premier League -- against Burnley, setting the tone for Chelsea's 4-2 win at Turf Moor.

In the 21st minute, Pulisic capitalized on a Burnley giveaway in midfield, charging up the pitch and coolly finishing past goalkeeper Nick Pope at the far post with his left foot. 

https://twitter.com/NBCSportsSoccer/status/1188136468616749056

Pulisic struck on the counter-attack once more just before halftime, capitalizing on another Burnley miscue in their own half. The 21-year-old gathered the ball just in front of the halfway line, carrying it into the Burnley box and doubling Chelsea's lead with a deflected shot in the 45th minute.

The American star did not stop scoring in the second half. Pulisic, standing unmarked in Burnley's penalty area, climbed and headed a Chelsea cross past Pope to clinch his first Premier League hat trick.

Pulisic became only the second American to score three goals in a Premier League match, joining USMNT legend Clint Dempsey as the only players to do so. He also kept company with a Chelsea legend after scoring with his right foot, left foot and head.

Willian scored Chelsea's fourth two minutes after Pulisic's third, but the day belonged to the American.

Chelsea signed Pulisic in January for the highest-ever transfer fee for an American player, but playing time had been hard to come by after he joined the club this summer. Pulisic started for Chelsea on Saturday for the first time since a Sept. 25 Carabao Cup match. He had not started in the Premier League since Aug. 31, but the American played his back into starting consideration for Chelsea manager Frank Lampard with a string of strong performances off the bench. On Wednesday, Pulisic assisted on Michi Batshuyahi's 86th-minute winner against Ajax in the Champions League group-stage match.

The goal-scoring monkey now is off Pulisic's back, and Lampard could have a much harder time leaving Pulisic out of his starting XI moving forward. That surely will excite Chelsea supporters and USMNT fans looking for glimmers of hope during an otherwise dismal period. 

Chelsea's Christian Pulisic gets first Premier League start since August

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AP

Chelsea's Christian Pulisic gets first Premier League start since August

After a strong midweek performance in the Champions League, Christian Pulisic returned to Chelsea's starting lineup Saturday. 

The United States Men's National Team star started in place of Callum Hudson-Odoi against Burnley at Turf Moor, making his first league start for the Blues in nearly two months. 

Pulisic, 21, last started for Chelsea in any competition on Sept. 25 in a 7-1 win over League Two side Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup. Chelsea manager Frank Lampard last started Pulisic on Aug. 31 against Sheffield United, but Pulisic's impact off the bench in the Champions League appears to have swayed Lampard. 

Chelsea beat Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam on Wednesday, and Pulisic assisted Michy Batshuyahi's 86th-minute winner at Johan Cruyff Arena. In six appearances this season, Pulisic has four assists, tying with Hudson-Odoi for the Chelsea lead. 

"The way he's played, he deserves a starting place regularly in the last few weeks, but so do others and that's what I keep saying is the nice problem that I have," Lampard told reporters Friday (H/T Sky Sports). "But it's brilliant that he's coming on and making the impact that he's making and of course he'll get his starts, that's the reason he's come here. ... So [all of Chelsea's attackers are] good options for me, and Christian is getting stronger and he's getting more in the group. With players that come here and some of them you have to give them a bit of time, particularly young players, but he's playing well, so he's certainly in strong contention."

With a win at Turf Moor, Chelsea can keep pace with third-place Leicester City in the race for Champions League qualification. The Blues would sit fourth based on goal difference following the Foxes' 9-0 shellacking of Southampton on Friday night.